Jack Graney

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John Gladstone Graney

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 180 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jack Graney played his entire major league career (14 years) for the Cleveland American League team, first called the Naps and then the Indians, and later was a long-time broadcaster for the team. Jack was the first major league batter to face Babe Ruth, when Ruth was a Boston Red Sox pitcher, while Jack was with the Cleveland Naps in 1914. He was also the first player to bat wearing a number on his uniform, on June 26, 1916, the number being pinned to his sleeve and not worn on his back as would later become the norm. Indeed, uniform numbers would not become common for another decade. In 1908, he was part of the first All-Star team of major league players to tour the Far East.

Jack started in the minors at age 19, and made his debut in the big leagues in 1908 as a pitcher. He was back in the minors for most of 1908 and 1909, going 17-11 as a pitcher for the Portland Beavers (while also playing in the field), but came back to the majors as an outfielder and never pitched another game in the big leagues. As a hitter, he led the American League in doubles once and in walks twice.

In 1920, Graney was involved in an unseemly fight with Tris Speaker at the time of Ray Chapman's funeral. Chapman had been killed in a beaning and an argument arose over whether he should be buried as a Catholic or a Protestant (Chapman was a baptized Protestant but his wife was Catholic and she maintained that Chapman was about to convert). Eventually, Graney (a Catholic) and Speaker (a Protestant) came to blows on this subject. Both were injured too seriously to appear at the funeral itself. He played his entire career with the Cleveland American League franchise, and when he retired in 1922, he held the record for most games played in the Major Leagues by a Canadian; the record stood until broken by Terry Puhl in the late 1980s and is now held by Larry Walker. A low-average hitter, he nonetheless was often used as a lead-off hitter because of his ability to draw walks, which gave him a solid on-base percentage and made him an above-average offensive player; he led the AL in walks twice.

After his playing career ended, Graney was a longtime Cleveland Indians broadcaster and the first player to make the transition to broadcasting. He called Indians games from 1932 to 1944 and again from 1946 to 1953.

The Cleveland chapter of SABR is called the Jack Graney Chapter in his honor. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1987, the Hall instituted the Jack Graney Award, presented annually to a member of the Canadian media, in his honor. In 2021, he was posthumously awarded the Ford Frick Award in recognition of his pioneering excellence in the field of broadcasting.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL Doubles Leader (1916)
  • 2-time AL Bases on Balls Leader (1917 & 1919)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1916)
  • Won a World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 1920

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "Late Indians outfielder/commentator Graney wins Frick Award", Yahoo! News, December 8, 2021. [1]

Related Sites[edit]